Google Extends the Olive Branch

By David Gould, President

I just read Eric Schmidt’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal. It’s somewhat ironic considering the recent hubbub around the rumored News Corp/Microsoft deal, but kudos to the WSJ for portraying all sides of the story.

For those of you who haven’t followed the story, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (owner of the WSJ) has been rumored to be in talks with Microsoft to make News Corp’s content exclusively available through Bing; a deal clearly targeted at Google, the 800 pound gorilla of search that provides “free” access to other’s news content. Hopefully you were able to click through the above hyperlink to the WSJ without a subscription, because, shockingly, I didn’t see a link show up when I searched Google news for the article.

As Mr. Schmidt puts it, “With dwindling revenue and diminished resources, frustrated newspaper executives are looking for someone to blame. Much of their anger is currently directed at Google …” Schmidt contends the frustration is misguided and that the Newspaper industry should be looking in the mirror to find fault in declining revenues. In fact, he goes so far as to turn the tables and contend the publisher’s should be thanking him for sending large volumes of free traffic to their websites.

I’m not always in Google’s camp, but I am this time. Schmidt correctly identifies the newspaper publisher’s reluctance to change with the times. They are in the news gathering and dissemination business, not the newspaper business. The way people consume news has changed therefore the way news organizations deliver news needs to change appropriately. And that means more than just taking your content and placing it online while trying to survive under the same revenue model.

Schmidt extends an olive branch in his editorial and I think some people on the other side of the aisle should be grasping for it, “But just as there is no single cause of the industry's current problems, there is no single solution. We want to work with publishers to help them build bigger audiences, better engage readers, and make more money.”

One of his final comments is very telling, “I certainly don't believe that the Internet will mean the death of news.” … Notice he didn’t say newspapers.


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